Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy for the Treatment of Concomitant Phantom Limb Pain and Critical Limb Ischemia

De Caridi, G.; Massara, M.; Serra, R.; Risitano, C.; Giardina, M.; Acri, I.E.; Volpe, P.; David, A.

Annals of Vascular Surgery 32: 131.E11-14


ISSN/ISBN: 1615-5947
PMID: 26802307
DOI: 10.1016/j.avsg.2015.10.015
Accession: 058889479

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Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a chronic condition experienced by about 80% of patients who have undergone amputation. In most patients, both the frequency and the intensity of pain attacks diminish with time, but severe pain persists in about 5-10%. Probably, factors in both the peripheral and central nervous system play a role in the occurrence and persistence of pain in the amputated lower limb. The classical treatment of PLP can be divided into pharmacologic, surgical, anesthetic, and psychological modalities. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) does not represent a new method of treatment for this condition. However, the concomitant treatment of PLP and critical lower limb ischemia by using SCS therapy has not yet been described in the current literature. The aim of the present article is to highlight the possibility of apply SCS for the simultaneous treatment of PLP and critical lower limb ischemia on the contralateral lower limb after failure of medical therapy in a group of 3 patients, obtaining pain relief in both lower limbs, delaying an endovascular or surgical revascularization. After SCS implantation and test stimulation, the pain was reduced by 50% on both the right and the left side in all our patients. The main indications for permanent SCS therapy after 1 week of test stimulation were represented by transcutaneous oxygen (TcPO2) increase >75%, decrease of opioids analgesics use of at least 50% and a pain maintained to within 20-30/100 mm on visual analog scale.